An OnTheMarket agent has told The Negotiator that the portal has passed on a client’s email address given to OTM for its Property Alerts service to a mortgage broker, which has now prospected for business in competition with the agent’s in-house financial services operation.
Steve Pymm of three branch Norwich estate agency Pymm & Co says in April 2019 one of his branch managers was canvassed by the portal to sign up customers to its Property Alerts service and incentivised with shopping vouchers of either £1 or £4 per lead to do so.
The office manager, Andrew Fox, then decided to add his own personal email as one of the addresses supplied to see what OnTheMarket did with the information.
Earlier this month Pymm says the branch manager received an email from mortgage broker John Charcol touting for business and referencing OnTheMarket.
“The portal clearly thought Andrew was an applicant on our database,” says Pymm (left).
The letter, which offered a mortgage review to Fox, said: “Here at John Charcol Mortgage Brokers, we pride ourselves on being the original independent mortgage broker and always providing unbiased mortgage advice,” the letter says.
“We’ve recently partnered with OnTheMarket to provide both homeowners and property buyers easy access to our independent expert advice, helping more people find the right mortgage.”
But Pymm, who operates his own in-house mortgage brokerage, is furious that OnTheMarket has therefore passed one of the addressees supplied to it for Property Alert registration to Charcol to canvass his customers for mortgage business.
“Between 20 and 30% of my agency’s income comes from financial services and this revenue is particularly important at the moment,” says Pymm.
The Negotiator contacted OTM to put Pymm’s concerns to them. It has not denied on the record that Property Alert leads are being passed over to Charcol.
A spokesperson for OnTheMarket said: “When consumers set up a property alert or send an email lead to an agent, they have the choice to opt into OnTheMarket sending them relevant information. OnTheMarket does not pass on consumers’ email addresses to third parties.
“After a comprehensive analysis to identify a high-quality mortgage partner, we have agreed to enter a partnership with John Charcol which has over 40 years’ experience as an independent mortgage adviser.
“We believe this partnership will enhance our users’ search experience to ultimately understand the kind of property they can afford while supported by the expertise of independent advisers with access to thousands of mortgages.”